April 30, 2012 in Leia's Corner
April 29, 2012 in Dog Training
He’s three years old, energetic, out of control, and eating everything. You’ve been to obedience class, you’ve taken him for walks, you’ve even started hitting up Craig’s List for a doggie treadmill. You flip on TV, and you see a dog and handler moving at top speed around an exciting looking course.
That’s it! Agility. What better way to tire out your dog and have fun at the same time? You call around until you find a trainer that does agility, eager to sign up for a course. A friendly trainer tells you a new class begins soon, and to book an appointment for an evaluation.
Agility is fun, and is a great outlet for high energy dogs, but you can’t begin a class without a small amount of preparation. Is your dog ready to meet the teeter? Your agility instructor should be able to tell you at an evaluation, but here’s a little prep work you can do to put yourself ahead:
At some point during your class, you are going to have to unsnap your dog’s leash in the presence of other (leashed) dogs, and ask him to focus on you. Will he go with you, or dash madly around sniffing dog butts? If you’re not sure, work on recall at home, and at the park or other dog-safe area. (If you’re afraid he’ll run away, use a 30 foot dog lead.)
If your dog is aggressive toward other dogs or people, taking him to an agility class is probably a bad idea. If he’s shy or young, you can help by socializing him before taking him to class. That evaluation doubles as a great opportunity to let your dog meet the trainer and location before lessons begin.
Will your dog let you hold his collar? Does he like it? This may sound stupid, but being able to lead your dog by the collar (without him thinking he’s in trouble!) Is a very important skill in the beginning stages of agility. Small dogs obviously are not used to having their collars held, and most big dogs only have their collars grabbed when the fun stops.
Practice taking hold of your dogs collar and then immediately rewarding with a treat. This isn’t necessary to begin class, but it really does help.
Again while not absolutely necessary, having a sit or down is really helpful, especially if your dog can hold sit/down off leash with you at least five feet away. This skill gives you enough freedom to walk around a jump and call your dog over it, makes introducing the pause table easier, and gives you something to practice while waiting your turn for the weave poles.
Have you mastered these arts? Think there should be something else added to this list? Share your stories in the comments section.
April 28, 2012 in General
This morning I went outside to put the trash out, and found a dog sitting in my front yard. This is relatively common in our neighborhood, since no one seems to know how to close a gate inside of a six block radius, but most of the time someone knows which yard to stuff it back in, and all is well.
This one wasn’t one of those dogs.
I chased the little pup into a corner, snagged it, and checked to see if it had a collar. Moments later, I was calling the owner of, “Skeets”, and telling him where he could find his dog. If she hadn’t had a collar with a tag, it could have ended so different. We’d probably have found the owner eventually, but weeks or months down the road instead of days.
If your dog got lost, would you find your dog as quickly and easily? Find out, by asking yourself these simple questions:
Do I have a collar on my dog?
No, really. Does your dog wear a collar? At all times? If your answer is no, you may want to ask yourself why. If your dog spies an open gate, he’s not going to stop his mad dash for freedom to grab a collar and throw it on. Even if your collar doesn’t have ID on it, it will still help keep your dog from being confused as a stray. If you’re concerned about the dog catching it on something, try a break away collar. If you’re worried it may mat his fur, rolled leather does an excellent job of reducing tangles.
Does my dog have an ID?
Having a collar can tell a good Samaritan your dog isn’t a stray, but having a tag on can tell them where to find you.
Does my dog have a second form of ID?
Dogs slip out of their collars all the time. If your dog lost its collar, does he have some other way of being identified? Ear tattoos, noseprints and microchips are becoming more and more common as means of identification. It might take a little more time for someone to discover these more subtle forms of ID, but dogs are found this way all the time.
Training your dog will not only help when he’s lost, it can save his life. A dog that can’t be caught can’t be returned.
Did you answer yes to any of these questions? The more you answered yes to, the better the odds are your dog will be found. Don’t leave it up to identification though. The safest possible place for your dog is at home. Check your house for escape regularly, and don’t leave anything to chance. Your dog could depend on it!
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April 25, 2012 in Just For Fun
If you are viewing this page, you or someone you know think you may be a blogaholic and require treatment. Blogaholism is a serious condition that may lead to computer butt, sleeplessness, and carpal tunnel syndrome. You may be a blogaholic if:
- You don’t know the name of your cousin in Italy, but you have the profile of someone who commented on one of your comments on a comment in someone else’s post memorized.
- You have a stat tracker so advanced it can tell you what toothpaste your last visitor used—and you think it’s off because the only visit recorded is your own.
- You make someone else drive on family vacation so you can blog on your phone.
- You scream and shake hands all around the work elevator because your blog got on the technorati top 100 list.
- You request time off for depression when your blog slinks back into obscurity the next day.
- You check for comments ten minutes after making a post.
- You are sure the spam filter is destroying every comment in sight, seeing as there isn’t any comments at all.
- You have a notebook beside your bed just in case you get a post idea in the middle of the night.
- You bi-pass the notebook and just blog it instead when you get an idea in the middle of the night.
- You read this post and laughed.
If any of these sound like you, I’m sorry, but you’re a blogaholic. The only known treatments for blogaholism are Y2k and the zombie apocalypse. Until then, you’re probably hopeless.
Well what are you waiting for? Comment on this post! I’ve been refreshing for ten minutes.
March 18, 2012 in General
Sandy Pawz is growing up, and unsurprisingly, has developed 4 legs, a tail, and what Rudyard Kipling called, “Insatiable Curiosity.”
Not so bad when it’s a shoe or a sock (all I do is take it away and give her an appropriate item) but it’s really bad when you’re, say, painting a room and she decides to toddle off with a paintbrush.
Did I mention the paintbrush was wet?
I have no pictures of this moment as my card reader for my camera is quite broken, but let me assure you there is paint everywhere, including on all the dogs. I don’t know whether to laugh, cry, or start washing.
What’s the “worst” thing your dog has ever done?
March 15, 2012 in Dog Training
Rocco and I started agility again three weeks ago, and we’re loving it. Rocco is learning by leaps and bounds, much more than we ever did at Fido’s Farm. (Not dissing Fido’s Farm here, they did a wonderful job, this new trainers techniques just seem to work for Rocco.) The problem that’s been cropping up hasn’t been anyone’s training at all.
It’s the other dogs crowding around jealously while I’m training. You can’t train one dog in an open area with other dogs present. They push in front of Dog In Training, fighting madly for both attention and treat. Shut yourself in a room, and they’re pressed up against the door, snuffling and sighing. Out in the backyard? Staring out the window and barking.
My husband says Leia whines the entire time we’re at agility, but it isn’t just her. Each of the dogs do this when they’re not the center of attention. I can’t train everybody at the same time, it has to be one on one attention. They’re all going to get that one on one attention, and the same amount. They ought to know that, but I think it’s similar to the, “I have never been fed before. See? My food bowl is empty.” Routine.
Any thoughts on how to give each dog individual attention without all the drama?
March 7, 2012 in Dog Nutrition
Few dogs in this world have gone through their entire lives without ever once sampling a piece of “people food.” It’s really tempting to give in to the soulful eyes of your best friend as he presses up to you, but are table scraps okay for your dog?
Like most of the bigger questions in the dog world, the answer is more complicated than a simple yes or no. It all depends on what those scraps consist of, how much, and when.
Onions, grapes (and their dried version raisins), and chocolate should never be fed to your dog. These foods are highly toxic and can cause symptoms ranging from discomfort to death, depending on how much is ingested.
Feeding table scraps can also cause both begging and obesity. Never feed your dog at the table, especially if he begins nuisance behaviors such as crowding or trying to snatch at your plate. Dogs should also not be fed foods that are plainly unhealthy. Don’t feed him pizza, big macs, or huge bowls of ice cream. If it’s not good for you, it’s probably not good for your dog.
There are a lot of unhealthy side effects to feeding table scraps, so if they’re so unhealthy, why feed them?
When handled correctly, they aren’t unhealthy. In fact, studies have shown that lactating bitches given table scraps have puppies with fewer skin allergies than dogs who were fed only commercial dog foods. If your diet is healthy, offering your dog a sample of what’s on the table won’t hurt it. Particularly good choices include lean meats, steamed vegetables, and plain potatoes or rice.
What do you think of feeding dogs table scraps? Why?